Battle tank Leopard 2 - Variants
A variety of MBT variants from 2A1 to 2A7 denote minor changes, as well as FCS upgrades. Combat support variants include an armored recovery vehicle.
A variety of upgrade programs and options are available for the Leopard 2. These include the Atlas Elektronik Vehicle Integrated Command and Information System (IFIS), a digital command and information system. The Leopard 2 has had technical improvements under Upgrading Level I and Level II programs. A new smoothbore gun, the 120 millimetre L55 Gun, has been developed by Rheinmetall GmbH of Ratingen, Germany to replace the shorter 120 millimetre L44 smoothbore tankgun on the Leopard 2. It permits effective use of a new APFSDS-T round, DM53 (LKE II), with a longer rod penetrator, and which is under development. The German Army decided not to buy the DM43 APFSDS-T round (aka LKE 1), rather to wait and upgrade to the DM53.
- Leopard 2 AV - When the first analysis of the Yom Kippur War of 1973 became available, it became clear that increased armor protection would be a decisive factor in the future. The result was a decision to improve the Leopard 2 to MLC 60 (Military Class loading 60 tons), which would allow increased armor and to modify one of the turrets with a new type of multiple layers of armor. This resulted in a breakthrough in the Leopard 2 program and the first step towards the Leopard 2 AV (Austere Version). During 1973, negotiations began between the United States and Germany to standardize certain components between the main battle tank of these nations to the 1980. As a result, by 1976 the study of how Leopard 2 could be modified to resolve performance problems and emergencies and adapt to the needs of the US agreed. According to the military requirements of the US and Germany subject to these modifications, Porsche, Krauss-Maffei, and Wegmann designed and built the Leopard 2 AV. Modifications included several new armor layers (like armor developed by British "Chobham" which consisted of layers of steel and ceramic armor) in the hull and a new turret with a less sophisticated system of aim. The Leopard 2 AV was originally intended to be tested while the XM1, but the German modification program took longer than expected. The US Army therefore proceeded with the evaluation of the XM1 prototypes built by Chrysler and General Motors, and ultimately decided to launch full-scale development of the Chrysler design.
- Leopard 2 - A total of 380 Leopard 2 were built in the first batch, 209 by Krauss-Maffei (nbr chassis. 10001-10210) and 171 of Mak (nbr chassis. 20001-20172), with the first six delivered in 1979 to Kampftruppenschule 2 in Muenster. Another 100 were delivered in 1980 and 229 in 1981, to replace the units M48A2G between bodies I (GE).
- Leopard 2A1 - Second production model; revised fuel filters; redesigned ammunition holders; thermal sight for gunner. The production of the second series began in March 1982 and ended in November 1983. Of the 550 vehicles built, 248 were built by Krauss-Maffei (chassis nbr. 10211-10458) and 202 of MaK (chassis nbr. 20173 to 20347). The most significant changes were the cancellation of cross sensor wind speed, and that the protection of the optical blocks at the station commander so far were carved. Thermal view of the tank, according to the common modules provided by Texas Instruments and built by Carl Zeiss, now were adjusted to the primary display EMES 15 gunners and the system of gun control was included in the system fault detection . Fuel filters were placed again, significantly reducing the time required for refueling. An external connection headset was added to the back left side of the turret. Racks of ammunition stowage were identical to those to be adjusted M1A1 Abrams. Two foot boards were attached to the power plant, to avoid damage to the operator and wiring and electrical outlets for maintenance cover removed. Clamps to the tow cable on the back deck were repositioned and cables, now 5 m, were crossed on the back plate. Due to these numerous changes, this version was designated the Leopard 2 A1.
- Leopard 2A2 - Early production Leopard 2s and 2A1s brought up to new accepted standard with some sutble changes introduced. This designation was only given to the upgraded first batch brought up to the standard of the second and third batches (2A1).
- Leopard 2A3 - The fourth series was built between December 1984 and December 1985. Of the 300 vehicles delivered, 165 were built by Krauss-Maffei (nbr chassis. 10624-10788), and 135 MaK (nbr chassis. 20510-20644) . The most significant changes were the installation of new digital radios SEM 80/90 VHF and revised exhaust grilles with circular bars. Hatches ammunition supply were welded closed (risk of escape if the turret was hit). The vehicles of this batch were designated Leopard 2 A3.
- Leopard 2A4 is armed with a L44-smoothbore gun (120mm). In addition, it has been upgraded and modernized several times since its introduction in 1995. An optimized front protection of the gun turret, an electronic turret and weapons driving mechanism, a commanders periscope equipped with its own infrared camera/thermal imaging device, a modern navigation system and a reversing camera are just a few of the upgrades to have been realized since. The -A4 was the most manufactured of the Leopard 2 tanks, with 2,570 built for Germany and the Netherlands between 1985 and 1992. After the Cold War ended, many A4s were sold off to other NATO countries including Canada, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey, where they still served as of 2015.
- Leopard 2A5/Leopard 2 (Improved): Narrow "pinched" turret design; improved armor; all-electric turret; improved ammunition options; commander's thermal imaging sight; rear-driving camera for driver; improved laser range-finder. Recent upgrade with spaced armor added to turret front, and increased armor on hull and side skirts. Other improvements include improved stabilization, suspension, navigation, fire control, and hatch design. The modular design of the LEOPARD 2A5 facilitates future modernizations and improvements in combat effectiveness and will ensure its deployment far into the 21st century, always adapted to the most diverse threat scenarios.
- Strv 122 - Formal Swedesh Army designation of Leopard 2A5.
- Leopard 2E: A derivative of the version A5a developed under a program of comanufacture between the industries of Spain and Germany. The program is developed within the frame of collaboration decided in 1995 between the Ministries of Defense of both countries, in which also the cession of use by a period of five years of 108 Leopard 2A4 from the German Army to the Spanish was. On 23 December 1998 the Spanish Cabinet approved the comanufacture contract, designating Santa Bárbara Blindados (SBB - Armored company Santa Barbara) as the main contractor. The Leopard 2E/ER and its elements will be made totally in Spain, with German technological support. SBB, a branch of the National Company Santa Barbara (Empresa Nacional Santa Bárbara -ENSB) in Seville, is responsible for the final assembly, integration and tests of the vehicles.
- Leopard 2(S) - Swedish Leopard 2A5; increased frontal, side and roof armor; new laser rangefinder; Celsius command and control system.
- Leopard 2A6 - New Rheinmetall 120mm L/55 Main Gun; improved armor. It owes its superior fighting ability to an optimal combination of protection, agility, controllability and fire power. In the modern 2 A6 version, especially an increase in the engagement range has been implemented. Equipped with the L55 smooth bore gun (120mm), it impresses with its outstanding aiming accuracy and the ability to engage targets at a distance of up to 6000 meters. The primary and secondary protection systems remain effective against the most modern types of munition through constant development. The German armed forces and several other allied customers have equipped the LEOPARD 2 A6 with an additional mine protection system.
- Leopard 2E - Improved Armor Protection designed jointly by Germany and Spain.
- Leopard 2A6EX - Improved Leopard 2A6; auxiliary power unit installed.
- Leopard 2A6 Hel - Greek Army version of the Leopard 2A6 mark.
- Leopard 2A6M - Improved Mine Protection Variant
- Leopard 2A6M CAN - Canadian version of the Leopard 2A6M.
- Leopard 2A7+ was developed and qualified for the new tasks of the German Armed Forces. The system components, optimized to protect the crew, prove their worth, in use in Afghanistan with NATO's Partner Canada. Appearing in 2010, it featured modular armor; improved battlefield survivability; improved RPG and mine protection; remote weapons station.
- Leopard 2 PSO ("Peace Support Operations") - Urban Warfare variant; improved protection from RPG and mines; shorter main gun barrel; camera systems; searchlight; additional weapon station on turret roof. Bergepanzer BPz3 "Buffel" - Armored Recovery Vehicle. Panzerschnellbrucke 2 - Mobile Bridge Launcher Pionierpanzer 3 "Kodiak" - Combat Engineering Vehicle.
- Leopard 2L - Bridgelayer
- Leopard 2L - Mine Clearing Vehicle Fahrschulpanzer - Driver Training Vehicle; sans turret; instructor cab set in turret's place.
- Leopard 2-140 - Proposed Leopard 2 armed with 140mm main gun; autoloader would have reduced the crew to three personnel.
- Pz87: Swiss variant with indigenous machineguns, communications and FCS, and improved NBC equipment.
- Dutch Leopard 2: Uses indigenous equipment as noted above.
- Strv 121: The Swedish Army has taken delivery of 160 ex-German Army Leopard 2 MBTs under the designation Strv 121.
- Strv 122: Early in 1998 the Swedish Army took delivery of the first of 120 brand new Leopard 2 MBTs, based on the German Leopard 2A5 but with many improvements, under the local designation of the Strv 122. This Swedish-licensed variant resemblies the Leopard 2A5 with an indigenous turret and other upgrades. The tank features French Galix active protection system and improved command and control. Sweden developed an HE-T round designed to range 2,000 meters or more for its Leopard-2 and Strv-122 tanks. With additional armor, Strv 122 will weigh 62 mt.
Only recently renovated, the Leopard 2 A7 is the Bundeswehr rolling fortress. The current 65-ton battle tank of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) was developed and qualified for the new tasks of the German Armed Forces. The system components, optimized to protect the crew, prove their worth, in use in Afghanistan with NATO's partner Canada.
Among others its features include:
- Passive all-round protection for the crew against threats such as roadside bombs, mines and bazooka fire
- Interface for attaching implements, such as a mine plow, mine roller or a dozer blade for clearing mines, booby traps or building debris blocking the roads
- Cooling system for both the turret and chassis
- Increased power-rated additional power generators for check-point missions
- Communication interface on the exterior of the vehicle for dismounted forces
- Combined driver's night vision (thermal imager / image intensifier) for front and rear view
- Improved optoelectronics (day / night) for reconnaissance over long distances
- Digitized and multifunctional user concept
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